20 Best Online Master’s in Computer Forensics

Best Online Master's Computer ForensicsDo you ever wonder what technology innovations will mean to our future? Are you interested in being a part of those advances and developments? A career in computer forensics may be the challenging, cutting-edge opportunity you need to get excited about your future and possible occupations.

A fascinating job in information technology and the arena of digital forensics could be the ideal combination of hands-on work and academic stimulation for your future. In addition, problem-solving skills and analysis training in computer forensics programs are requirements for most leadership positions.

What Is an Online Master’s in Computer Forensics?

An online master’s in computer forensics opens information technology career options in the cybersecurity world. Since computer forensics focuses on the security and the trackability of digital information, you will investigate, analyze, manage and secure a variety of different kinds of computer data. Computer forensic scientists are needed in public, private, and government-related fields to prevent cybercriminals from stealing, falsifying, exposing, or deleting information that can be found on the internet or even through secure computer connections within an organization. Master’s degree holders will learn how to leverage their expert computer security and investigative skills with the legal ethics related to digital information and develop team leadership skills.

How Much Can You Earn With an Online Master’s in Computer Forensics?

With a master’s degree in forensic science, graduates can work as computer and information systems managers. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay in 2020, was around $151,150 per year. In addition, computer and information research scientists holding a master’s earned $126,830, while information security analysts made about $103,590. Cybersecurity analysts and investigators can gain entry-level positions in computer forensics but they also can expand their salary earnings with professional experience, industry certifications, or a master’s degree program. 

What Is Required For an Online Master’s in Computer Forensics?

Earning a master’s degree in computer forensics first begins with a bachelor’s degree in a computer or technology-related field. While up to two years of professional experience in the industry is helpful, it’s not essential. However, a number of master’s programs provide opportunities to test out courses for the degree program if an applicant provides evidence of professional experience. In some instances, program advisors for some institutions will approve work-related experience as course credits. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Proficiency in some computer languages is often recommended, and more and more programs offer preparations for professional certification testing or build the full certification process into their program.

What Are the Best Online Master’s in Computer Forensics?

OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program-specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is cybersecurity a top challenge for military, government, and law enforcement agencies?

Since the 2008 U.S. Department of Defense military computer network breach, the U.S. has ramped up its efforts to troubleshoot security issues to create more and more impenetrable computer systems and to track down cyber violations in the IT world. As hackers and cybercriminals become more skilled at penetrating computer systems, the important data of corporations, governments, and even private citizens is more at risk. Threats to our economy, environment, and even our fresh water and food sources emerge every day.   

As the New York Times reported in a May 2020 article on the cyberattack that crippled the gas supply in the U.S., criminals that can hack into a company’s essential supplies have the ability to bring economies like the U.S. to a standstill. Military agencies that utilize secure data servers and systems rely on top security measures and computer forensic professionals to protect weapons information — data that is critical to national security and to safeguard personnel that directly and indirectly serve our country. 

Is there a difference between computer science and computer forensics?

Computer science and computer forensics are both digital information arenas that overlap in key areas. The need for skills in computer languages and programming, ethics, analysis, data mining, and even data tracking are universal to both computer science degree holders and computer forensic professionals. According to an October 2000 FBI communication on the need for forensic science professionals, Americans and American companies are “more invested in information processing and management than manufacturing goods.” So, the need to protect that information is as great as the need to provide citizens material goods themselves.

Computer forensics specifically focuses on acquiring, securing, retrieving, and processing electronic data evidence. Professionals in computer forensics are the modern law enforcement investigators of the digital age. Using the same skills as computer scientists, computer forensic professionals collect and analyze that data in an effort to protect or to build a case for possible criminal prosecution. 

Do computer forensic professionals need advanced programming language skills?

Programming languages are clearly a key component in computer science careers like web design, computer network architects, programmers, and information systems managers that create and manipulate new data daily.  However, computer forensic professionals need constant technology training to facilitate job success. According to a 2018 report by the Enterprise Strategy Group on “The Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals,” ongoing computer programming skills are the key to job satisfaction and achievement. Maintaining professional peer relationships, attending industry trade shows, and having access to a mentor in skills-building were listed as top requirements for success. More specifically, industry certification in technical computer skills programs is listed as the most effective way for cybersecurity professionals to succeed in their field. 

With a master’s degree in computer forensics, you can merge a passion for technology with the ability to serve your company, community, or even country in a law enforcement capacity. Have you never envisioned yourself as a member of the law enforcement community? Computer forensics allows you to do just that from behind your computer screen and with just the rapid keystrokes and clicks of your fingers.

Students can take their computer science or programming skills to the next level by entering the exciting field of IT security with computer forensics. The demand for professionals in the public, private, and government industries expands every day as technology innovations advance digital capabilities daily. Begin by consulting one of the universities below for their master’s program details.

  1. Capitol Technology University

    Capital Technical University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,800(in state) / $10,800(out of state)
    • Minimum of 36 credits hours for completion
    • Professional certifications not required
    • Working knowledge of servers, hubs, routers and switches expected

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72.80%
    Admission Rate75%
    Programs offered onlineNot Reported

    Program Level

    Median Debt$26,000
    Programs in Department5
    Popularity at School40.00%
    100%
    OSR Score

    Earn this best master’s of science in cybersecurity from Capitol Technology University and master the fundamentals needed to keep data both confidential and accessible while providing a high level of integrity within the information. Students will engage in an internship for practical experience and publish an academic article as part of the program.

  2. Western Governors University

    Western Governors University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $6,500(in state) / $6,500(out of state)
    • Total of nine courses needed for completion
    • Bachelor’s in a STEM or related field
    • Capstone project required for graduation

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction64.80%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online29

    Program Level

    Median Debt$10,846
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School12.25%
    91%
    OSR Score

    Earn a top master’s of science degree in cybersecurity and information assurance from Western Governors University and also earn professional IT certifications as part of the program. Coursework includes:

    • cybersecurity management
    • basic data security
    • hacking
    • network design and management
    • secure systems analysis and design
  3. Bellevue University

    Bellevue University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,170(in state) / $10,170(out of state)
    • Total of 36 credit hours for completion 
    • Bachelor’s GPA of 2.5 or better for application
    • No GRE or GMAT required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72.20%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online51

    Program Level

    Median Debt$36,445
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School13.01%
    89%
    OSR Score

    The master’s in cybersecurity from Bellevue University offers students an opportunity to master the most emerging technology for data security and the leading tools in cyber protection. Students will be prepared for a career in private and commercial network or systems security.

  4. Sam Houston State University

    Sam Houston State

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $5,391(in state) / $12,861(out of state)
    • Total of 36 credit hours required
    • Comprehensive written exams required in core courses
    • GRE and resume required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76.00%
    Admission Rate74%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median Debt$21,250
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School21.04%
    88%
    OSR Score

    As one of the best master’s in digital forensics from Sam Houston State University is built to train students in data intrusion identification, tracing, and recovery. With hands-on laboratory training and state-of-the-art technology, students will learn how to prepare the legal evidence to secure prosecution of cybercrimes in the private, public, and governmental arenas.

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  6. Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $52,170(in state) / $52,170(out of state)
    • Total of 10 courses for completion
    • Program study focus required
    • Proficiency exams available to earn opt-out credits 

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.40%
    Admission Rate13%
    Programs offered online6

    Program Level

    Median Debt$13,500
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School2.49%
    85%
    OSR Score

    Earn a master’s degree in cybersecurity from Johns Hopkins University and study applied machine learning, vulnerability analysis, security engineering, and reverse engineering. Independent study and capstone project work are components of this top Cybersecurity program. Prerequisite courses are available for applicants without the necessary credits but those courses do not count toward degree completion.

  7. Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs

    Colorado Technical

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $13,393(in state) / $13,393(out of state)
    • Total of 48 credit hours for completion 
    • Computer science background recommended
    • Grants and scholarships available

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction77.20%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online18

    Program Level

    Median Debt$39,755
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School13.07%
    85%
    OSR Score

    The master’s of science in computer science-cybersecurity engineering online degree from Colorado Technical University offers students schooling in the best policies and procedures on how to protect important digital devices, data, and computer networks. Program concentrations include:

    • digital forensics
    • security management
    • operating systems security
    • network security
    • software information assurance
  8. National University

    National University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $14,976(in state) / $14,976(out of state)
    • Total of 58.5 graduate units for completion 
    • Degree specialization required 
    • Faculty advisor interview required for application

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction70.80%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online46

    Program Level

    Median Debt$30,961
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School4.58%
    79%
    OSR Score

    The master’s of cybersecurity online degree from National University prepares students to defend and protect the information systems and computing infrastructures of commercial or private systems. Course study includes:

    • threat modeling and intel
    • Cloud security
    • cybersecurity technology
    • three separate security projects
  9. Purdue University Global-Indianapolis

    Purdue Global

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,128(in state) / $10,128(out of state)
    • Total of 60 credit hours 
    • Six-week long courses 
    • Three concentration focuses from which to choose

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.80%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online29

    Program Level

    Median Debt$28,019
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School< 1%
    76%
    OSR Score

    The MS in information technology online degree from Purdue University Global is designed to prepare students for professional leadership opportunities within an organization’s IT, communications, or business-development groups. Work as a database administrator, computer network architect, computer systems analyst, or network administrator with this degree.

  10. Lewis University

    Lewis University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $14,310(in state) / $14,310(out of state)
    • Customizable degree program
    • Capstone project required
    • Six concentrations available

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76.00%
    Admission Rate54%
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,935
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School3.64%
    76%
    OSR Score

    The master’s in computer science online degree from the Lewis University offers students an opportunity to seek employment in the high-tech industry through software engineering, digital forensics, artificial intelligence, enterprise, and Cloud computing, or even cybersecurity. This top program in digital forensics features hands-on learning projects that give students the opportunity to problem-solve real-world computer issues.

  11. University of Maryland Global Campus

    University of Maryland Global Campus

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,244(in state) / $11,862(out of state)
    • Total of 36 credit hours required 
    • Six transfer credits allowed
    • Background in computing or programming recommended

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.00%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online31

    Program Level

    Median Debt$18,215
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School4.51%
    76%
    OSR Score

    This masters’s in digital forensics and cyber investigation can be earned completely online from the University of Maryland Global Campus. The top online program prepares graduates for IT work in government organizations, law enforcement, and the private sector. With instruction in digital forensic response and analysis and digital forensics technology and practices, plus a capstone project in cybersecurity, students can move directly into a forensic IT position.

  12. University of the Cumberlands

    University of the Cumberlands

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $5,670(in state) / $5,670(out of state)
    • Total of 31 credit hours required 
    • Specialties in Cybersecurity and Criminal Justice 
    • Minimum Bachelor’s GPA of 2.5

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.80%
    Admission Rate74%
    Programs offered online15

    Program Level

    Median Debt$15,000
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School10.76%
    75%
    OSR Score

    This best master’s in digital forensics online degree from the University of the Cumberlands offers students critical skills to enter the information technology field and specialize in digital security. You will study:

    • web browser forensics
    • digital forensics evidence investigation and triage
    • Windows digital forensics
    • wireless security and forensics
  13. Davenport University

    Davenport University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $13,590(in state) / $13,590(out of state)
    • Total of 34 credit hours for completion 
    • Two-year program
    • No GRE or GMAT required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction68.80%
    Admission Rate82%
    Programs offered online23

    Program Level

    Median Debt$26,914
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School10.58%
    74%
    OSR Score

    The MS in information assurance and cybersecurity online degree from Davenport University prepares students with training in domestic and international data protection. Students learn risk-management and risk analysis skills as well as the legal and ethical boundaries of information security.

  14. University of Central Florida

    University of Central Florida

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $6,916(in state) / $25,759(out of state)
    • Total of 30 credit hours for completion 
    • Two-year program
    • Three letters of recommendation required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74.80%
    Admission Rate50%
    Programs offered online93

    Program Level

    Median Debt$18,130
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School3.54%
    72%
    OSR Score

    Earn an online master’s degree in digital forensics from the University of Central Florida that is uniquely designed as a collaboration between the computer science, forensic science of chemistry, criminal justice, and legal studies departments. Students must complete an independent learning credit through a thesis course or a capstone course.

  15. Syracuse University

    Syracuse University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $36,000(in state) / $36,000(out of state)
    • Total of 30 credit hours for completion 
    • 15 months to complete
    • Minimum 3.0 GPA in bachelor’s degree program to apply

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.60%
    Admission Rate47%
    Programs offered online1

    Program Level

    Median Debt$27,000
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School6.27%
    72%
    OSR Score

    The master’s of cybersecurity online degree from Syracuse University offers students an opportunity to focus on the future of cybersecurity in a digitally-driven world. By identifying, countering, and even preventing cybercrime, students learn how to deliver security in the emerging IT world.

  16. George Washington University

    George Washington University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $29,790(in state) / $29,790(out of state)
    • Total of 36 credit hours for completion 
    • 16-month program
    • Minimum of 3.0 GPA in bachelor’s program

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.80%
    Admission Rate41%
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median Debt$25,000
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School1.19%
    71%
    OSR Score

    The online degree in cybersecurity strategy & information management from George Washington University offers students with professional experience in safety, security, and/or information management. Graduation requires successful completion of the capstone project once all other coursework is complete.

  17. Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,990(in state) / $9,990(out of state)
    • Total of 30 credit hours for completion 
    • Two-year program length
    • Student-paced program

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74.00%
    Admission Rate58%
    Programs offered online22

    Program Level

    Median Debt$24,750
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School5.12%
    71%
    OSR Score

    The master’s of cybersecurity online degree from Saint Leo University offers students a combination of training in information security and assurance, and in supporting our nation’s information infrastructure. Competencies in both networks and operating systems provide the technical aspects of information security attack, prevention, and protection.

  18. Champlain College

    Champlain

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $14,310(in state) / $14,310(out of state)
    • Total of 30 credit hours for completion 
    • Eight-week course terms
    • GMAT and GRE not required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72.60%
    Admission Rate75%
    Programs offered online22

    Program Level

    Median Debt$27,000
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School10.15%
    70%
    OSR Score

    The online master’s of science degree in digital forensic science from Champlain College gives students training that allows them to meet the digital crime and network information breach activities of today’s cyber criminals. Instruction focuses on technical expertise while developing leadership and communications skills critical in the corporate environment.

  19. Stevenson University

    Stevenson University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,040(in state) / $8,040(out of state)
    • Virtual lab environment 
    • Bachelor’s degree or professional experience recommended for application
    • Transfer up to six credit hours

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.40%
    Admission Rate61%
    Programs offered online6

    Program Level

    Median Debt$26,905
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School7.35%
    70%
    OSR Score

    Stevenson University offers an online master’s of science in cybersecurity and digital forensics that trains graduates in modern evidence collection for computer security proceedings. Students will collect, preserve, analyze, and then interpret forensic digital findings.

  20. Strayer University-District of Columbia

    Strayer University-District of Columbia

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $16,374(in state) / $16,374(out of state)
    • Total of 12 classes required for completion
    • Bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.50 for application
    • 11-week course length

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction70.80%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median Debt$34,240
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School15.20%
    68%
    OSR Score

    For a master’s of science degree in information systems with a concentration in computer forensic management, consider Strayer University. Master the skills needed to stop computer sabotage, digital theft, and thwart terrorism by identifying and tracking cybercrimes. This program prioritizes data privacy, security, and digital protection for personal and commercial uses.